Until relatively recently no stone alignments were known on Bodmin Moor. This was surprising because of its proximity to Dartmoor which has the densest concentration of this type of monument in Great Britain. Intensive fieldwork during the 1970’s and 1980’s rectified this situation and now at least 10 examples are recorded. The Bodmin Moor alignments are surprisingly very different in character to those on neighbouring Dartmoor. Most of them are of the single row type, few are directly associated with a cairn, they generally consist of relatively small numbers of small and medium-sized stones and have a significantly different orientation. These differences help to emphasise the considerable variety in form and character between different regions, more surprising here because of the proximity and shared geology.
Map showing the location of Bodmin Moor
Map showing the distribution of Bodmin Moor stone alignments. Click on top right symbol to open a larger version.
Bodmin Moor stone alignments at a glimpse
Bodmin Moor stone row plans
Simplified plans of the stone rows on Bodmin Moor. Click on image to open a higher resolution version.
Bodmin Moor stone rows in charts
Pie charts showing the proportions of different types of stone row on Bodmin Moor and Great Britain. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.
Single stone rows are clearly dominant on Bodmin Moor. The solitary double row is the possible row at Minions and the pair of combination rows are the probable row at Stannon and the ravaged row at Searle’s Down. The absence of triple and multiple rows is perhaps surprisingly given the proximity of Dartmoor.
Pie charts showing the proportions of different lengths of Bodmin Moor and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.
Compared to Great Britain as a whole the stone rows on Bodmin Moor are proportionally much longer. There are no rows less than 10m long and over 90% are greater than 50m in length.
Pie charts showing the proportions of different numbers of stones recorded at Bodmin Moor and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.
Given the considerable length of modt rows on Bodmin Moor it is perhaps surprising that the proportion with more than 50 stones is less than the figure for Great Britain as a whole. This indicates that the stone spacing is greater than other long rows elsewhere. Nearly half of the rows have between 7 and 19 stones and yet over 90% are longer than 50m.
Pie charts showing the proportions of different stone sizes recorded at Bodmin Moor and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.
Nearly half of the Bodmin Moor rows include a mixture of small and medium sized stones. This is the most common size in Great Britain as a whole. None of the rows are formed by medium sized stones only or large and small stones.
Radar graphs showing the orientation of Bodmin Moor and British stone rows.
None of the Bodmin Moor rows are orientated towards the east, ESE or north east. The first two orientations are poorly represented in Great Britain as a whole, but the absence of any orientated towards the north east is unusual.
Bodmin Moor stone rows in numbers
|No. of alignments||11|
|Number of single alignments||8|
|Number of double alignments||1|
|Number of triple alignments||0|
|Number of multiple alignments||0|
|Number of combination alignments||2|
|Longest row||East Moor|
|Shortest row||Tolborough Tor|
|Total number of recorded stones||307|
|Average number of stones in each row||28|
|Alignments including small stones||9|
|Alignments including medium stones||8|
|Alignments including large stones||5|
|Highest row||Tolborough Tor (344m)|
|Lowest row||Searle’s Down (244m)|
|Cairn at the top of alignment||1|
|Cairn at the bottom of alignment||0|
A summary of information for the individual stone alignments can be viewed by clicking on the site names below. Whilst it is believed that the existing information is accurate, mistakes inevitably occur and should you spot any your help in improving this resource would be much appreciated. Your help will of course be fully acknowledged. Please use the contact button to get in touch.
A probable single stone row measuring 77m long, including at least 13 different sized stones situated on a gentle west facing slope with visual landscape links and reveals. The row is orientated NNE to SSW. A slight bank leading between the northern stones introduces an element of uncertainty regarding identification. A visual link and reveal with the hill known as Brown Willy is noteworthy.
A single stone row measuring 380m long, including at least 11 widely-spaced large-sized stones situated along a ridge. The row is orientated north west to south east and has sea view reveals and visual links to the landscape. The row was partly restored in 2015 and whilst excavation recovered no dating evidence it was possible to demonstrate that one of the orthostats had been raised without a discernible socket hole. The row stands near another row and several cairns.
A single stone row measuring 59m long, including at least 36 small-sized stones situated on a west facing slope. The row is orientated north to south and there is a possible cairn close to the southern end. There is a prehistoric settlement in the immediate vicinity.
A single stone row measuring 244m long, including 85 mainly small-sized stones together with some medium-sized stones situated on a west facing slope. The row is orientated NNE to SSW and is situated within a relict historic field system. There is a embanked avenue, several cairns and a prehistoric settlement in the vicinity.
A single stone row measuring 560m long, including at least 23 widely spaced medium and large-sized stones situated in a col between high ground to the north and south. The row is orientated NNE to SSW and unusually for a single row has a large blocking stone at the SSW end. The row has noteworthy visual links with a cairn on Brown Gelly which seems to be its focus. There are several cairns, a ring cairn, stone circle, stone setting and prehistoric settlements in the vicinity.
A single stone row measuring 302m long, including at least 56 different sized stones situated in a col between high ground to the north west and south east. The row is orientated ENE to WSW and leads ENE from a setting composed of three large recumbent orthostats. There is a noteworthy landscape reveal at the western end of the row where the cairns on top of Brown Gelly suddenly appear from behind rising ground. There are two stone circles, several cairns and a prehistoric settlement in the vicinity.
A possible wide double stone row (or avenue) measuring 78m long, including 8 small and medium-sized stones situated on a gentle south west facing slope. The row is orientated SSE to NNW and stands in the vicinity of at least four stone circles, several cairns and a stone pair. The row has clearly definable visual links with the cairns on the summit of Brown Gelly, Brown Willy, the Cheesewring and the sea.
A combination single and double stone row measuring 306m long, including at least 36 mainly small-sized stones situated within Colliford Reservoir. The row is orientated NNW to SSE and has several visual links to the landscape. Some of the row will have been destroyed by historic tinworking and during the construction of the nearby Colliford dam, but it originally extended to a cairn at the SSE end. The cairn along with others in the vicinity were fully excavated in 1977-8 by Frances Griffith. This work suggests that the row was probably built in the Early Bronze Age.
A probable combination single and double stone row measuring at least 144m long, including at least 11 widely spaced small and medium-sized stones situated on a gentle NW facing slope. The row is orientated SSE to NNW and has noteworthy visual links with Brown Will, Rough Tor, Alex Tor and three separate sea views. The row is situated close to a stone circle and there are several cairns and prehistoric settlements with field systems in the vicinity.
A single stone row measuring 11.2m long, including at least five small and medium-sized stones situated on the summit of a prominent hill. The row is orientated south east to north west and leads from a substantial cairn. There is a noteworthy landscape reveal at the south eastern end of the row where Rough Tor suddenly appears from behind the large cairn.
S1. Short single row composed of less than 10 small and medium sized stones (1) [Tolborough Tor].
S11. Long single row composed of more than 10 large sized stones (1) [Colvannick].
D7. Long double row composed of less than 10 small and medium sized stones (1) [Minions].
The Bodmin Moor stone rows are predominantly long and are composed of different stones, although many include small and medium-sized stones. Colvannick is very different to the others consisting as it does only of large stones, Tolborough Tor is the only only short row in the region and it may be no coincidence that it is the only one that leads from a cairn.
A couple of sites described as stone alignments are more likley to represent stone settings.
LAST UPDATED: 28th November 2018